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Comedy, like beauty, is all in the eyes of the beholder. Humor is a very subjective thing, so what may be funny to me, isnít necessarily going to be funny to you. Personally, I love all forms of comedy, from slapstick to sophisticated to absurdist to lowbrow. Ok, now that Iíve worked my way to lowbrow, this is where I should mention one of my favorite sitcoms- MARRIED... WITH CHILDREN. For my money, MARRIED... WITH CHILDREN was one of the most significant television series to ever grace the Fox network, and also one of their funniest. With the brilliantly hilarious Ed O'Neill heading up a terrific cast of clowns MARRIED... WITH CHILDREN guaranteed audiences a weekly dose of laughter for a little more than a decade. As that constant loser and everyman Al Bundy, OíNeil brought to life one of the most memorable sitcom characters in the history of television.

MARRIED... WITH CHILDREN and its Bundy clan were originally designed as the antithesis of the wholesome, loving family featured on THE COSBY SHOW- with the sitcomís original working title actually being NOT THE COSBYS. For those of you that may have never seen MARRIED... WITH CHILDREN, the basic premise follows a dysfunctional family named Bundy, lead by unsuccessful shoe salesman Al, his horny, couch potato wife Peggy (Katey Sagal), blonde airhead/bimbo daughter Kelly (Christina Applegate) and romantically deprived son Bud (David Faustino). Thrown into the mix were newly wed next-door neighbors, Marcy (Amanda Bearse) and Steve Rhoades (David Garrison), whom the Bundyís befriended and corrupted with their ongoing battle of the sexes.

While the tone of the first season of MARRIED... WITH CHILDREN seemed closest to reality; it was when the show reached for the heights of absurdism in its later years, that the series most closely mirrored the perceived nature of marriage and the relationships between men and women. Still, the first season is still pretty darn hilarious and filled with enough offensive humor to make it memorable. MARRIED... WITH CHILDREN: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON ($30) comes in a two-disc set that features the following thirteen episodes: Pilot, Thinergy, Sixteen Years And What Do You Get?, But I Didn't Shoot The Deputy, Have You Driven A Ford Lately?, Whose Room Is It Anyway?, Al Loses His Cherry, Peggy Sue Got Work, Married...Without Children, The Poker Game, Where's The Boss?, Nightmare On Al's Street and Johnny B. Gone.

Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment has made all the episodes that comprise MARRIED... WITH CHILDREN: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON available on DVD in the proper full screen aspect ratios of their original television broadcasts. Shot on NTSC broadcast caliber video, MARRIED... WITH CHILDREN: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON isnít going to look quite as good as a television series photographed on 35mm film. Of course, the presentation on DVD is slightly better than a syndicated rebroadcast and produces an image that appears reasonably sharp and defined. Colors are as uninspired as the purposely trashy art direction, but they are pretty stable and donít display appreciable noise or smearing. The video has limited has limited depth and contrast, but the overall picture is just fine. Digital compression artifacts are never a problem. The Dolby Digital 2.0 channel surround stereo soundtracks get the job done without any serious defects. Dialogue is always completely understandable and the music sounds fine. No other language tracks or subtitles are present, although English captioning is provided. The basic interactive menus provide access to the standard episode selection and set up features, as well as the sole supplement- a fairly enjoyable hour-long reunion special that aired in 2003.

MARRIED... WITH CHILDREN was a great television sitcom that brought fans a decadeís worth of lewd, crude and rude good times. If you loved the show, youíll be adding MARRIED... WITH CHILDREN: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON to you collection, while eagerly anticipating the release of its even funnier follow up seasons.



Married with Children - The Complete First Season (1987)


DVD reviews are Copyright © 2004 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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